Friday, February 17, 2012

Cold Therapy for Post-Operative Rehabilitation & Pain Management

Cold therapy is a highly effective pain management and recovery accelerant for post-operative care. Cold therapy is particularly effective on post-operative knee joint rehabilitation. Best of all, it is a low-cost, high-efficiency, non-pharmaceutical rehabilitation tactic, making it an appropriate addition to just about every post-operative patient’s rehabilitation strategy.

How does cold therapy work?

Cold therapy is effective in post-operative rehabilitation for a variety of reasons including:

  • Cold Therapy decreases fluid buildup which is a significant contributor to post-operative swelling in the injured body part.

  • Cold therapy also causes blood vessels to narrow, slowing blood flow to the injured part as well as the release of chemicals that cause pain and inflammation.

  • Cold therapy decreases pain by reducing the ability of the nerve endings to conduct impulses.

  • Cold therapy limits the muscle’s ability to maintain contraction, thus reducing muscle spasm, which can be quite painful during post-operative recovery.

Both the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health recognize that cold therapy is particularly effective at alleviating pain. A German study applied continuous cold therapy with a cold therapy system in the post-operative treatment for knee ligament surgery. 80% of the knee joint patients reported no or low pain, whereas the control group noted considerable or violent pain. Likewise the study found that cold therapy lead to significantly lower swelling, which aided in quicker recovery.

For reasons such as these, cold therapy is frequently prescribed throughout the duration of post-operative rehabilitation. In many cases, cold therapy should be applied alongside compression as it can also aid in reducing swelling. In these instances it is important to select a cold therapy system that also provides a degree of compression. With the right cold therapy unit, cold can penetrate deep into the joint. In turn, the unit provides lasting pain relief throughout the recovery.

Why is motorized cold therapy better than traditional cold packs?

Cold packs are adequate for slight injuries, such as mildly sprains, but they are not appropriate for more significant injuries and post-operative care. An ice pack administers inconsistent temperature over a small space. Intense cold lasts for a short period of time, but the packs quickly warms against the skin, requiring multiple trips to the freezer.

A quality cold therapy system on the other hand, will deliver a motorized flow of consistent temperature through circulation pads that are specifically designed for different body parts and applications. This ensures that temperatures stay within the effective range, that the cold is applied to the correct area with the correct pressure so that it can penetrate deep into the joint, and the cold therapy session can occur for a longer period of time in accordance with the physician’s prescribed treatment protocol. Depending on the type of unit you select, you should be able to administer anywhere between 6 and 11 hours of consistent cold therapy per ice change.

To learn more about cold therapy and the most effective cold therapy systems currently available, please visit MMAR Medical online.

About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of diabetic shoes, cold therapy systems and medical orthopedic braces, including ortheoarthritis knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.